Ganesh Chaturthi: 10-day long Hindu festival of elephant god kicks off with great zeal, religious fervour across India
The festival began with devotees, mostly attired in traditional clothes, bringing colourfully-crafted idols of the elephant-headed God in their homes and pandals and installing them amid chants of 'Ganapati bappa moraya'.
The ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival kicked off with zeal and religious fervour across India on Thursday. The festival began with devotees, mostly attired in traditional clothes, bringing colourfully-crafted idols of the elephant-headed God to their homes and pandals and installing them amid chants of 'Ganapati Bappa Moraya', beating of drums and and sprinkling of 'gulal' (red coloured powder).
In the financial capital, Mumbai, known for its grand pandals and idols of the Hindu God, Thursday saw devotees carrying home idols of Ganesha in taxis, rickshaws, trucks etc.
Decoration of Ganesha idols using ornaments is an important part of the celebration. Devotees were seen carrying decorative items like flowers, banana leaves from various flower markets across the city to their homes in local trains in the morning.
In view of the festival, Maharashtra Police beefed up security across the state. In Mumbai, at least 15,000 security personnel have been deputed to keep a vigil during the festival.
Mumbai police spokesperson, DCP, Manjunath Shingte, had told reporters on Wednesday that along with the personnel of local police stations, security personnel from Local Armed Division, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), Riot Control Police, Quick Response Team (QRT), Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) and the Civil Defence force would be been deployed across the city.
Idols of Ganesha, the deity of prosperity, are decorated with several ornaments, often made of gold and other precious metals, and kept in pandals or makeshift stage, on the eve of ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Several beautifully decked up pandals have been erected in all major cities and towns across India where huge idols of Lord Ganesha have been placed on raised platforms for people to worship. These makeshift tents also serve as a venue for promoting social causes such as free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for poor during the festival days.
Also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, the festival is celebrated across the country as birthday of Lord Ganesha which comes to an end after 10 days when people come out in large numbers for immersing the idols in the sea or in different water bodies. Dance, music and celebrations mark both the arrival as well as departure of the Ganesha idol.
The festival sees devotees offering to the deity various sweets as prasad, of which 'modak' (sweet rice flour dumplings filled with coconut and jaggery) is an integral part.
According to the Hindu mythology, modak is believed to be Lord Ganesha's favourite sweet. As per the rituals, 21 modaks are offered to the God and eventually served to the devotees.
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